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Black Bags

USA 2023
produced by
Ron Wiskup, B.L. Fleischer, Josh Brandon, Peter Foldy, Scott J. Jones (executive), Oren Kamara (executive), Tai Truesdell (executive), Kendall Anlian (associate), Ricki Maslar (associate), Laura Vandervoort (associate), Olesya Rulin (associate) for Artist Vision Entertainment, Spitfire Cinema, RCR Cinema, Filmstreet Productions, High Flight Pictures
directed by Josh Brandon
starring Laura Vandervoort, Olesya Rulin, Ryan Francis, Drew Pollock, Pamela Bell, Jehnean Washington, Bruce Davis, Jaclyn Friedlander, Paula Jay Fairbrother, Christina Simone, Shawnda Rooney, Emerson Shouse, Miles Siess, Katie Pierce, Mark Shane Weathers
story by Adam Pachter, screenplay by Adam Pachter, Angela Bourassa, music by Michael Seth Cudd

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Rather by chance, pregnant Tess (Olesya Rulin) meets Sara (Laura Vandervoort) on a bus, and also rather by chance they have the same destination and carry the same type of suitcase. They kind of get along too, but split once the bus has arrived to go their separate ways. It's only later that Sara suddenly ends up on Sara's door, and it seems they have swapped suitcases on the bus - which is kind of a big deal for Tess as there are pregnancy pills in her suitcase, but thanks to Sara, disaster averted. Then though Sara's suitcase accidently springs open, and there's a severed man's head inside. Which is too bad, because now Sara has to force Tess to get rid of the head, and since Sara still has Tess's pregnancy pills and there are only Tess's fingerprints on the suitcase, there's little she can do but play game. And so, they head off to a nearby abandoned chemical plant, throw the head into a vat of acid, and problem solved. And Sara also tells Tess the story about the head, which makes her sound less like a crazy woman who walks around with severed heads and more like a loving mother - whose baby father has paid her hush money for 11 years to keep their daughter together a secret from his family, but now that she asked for more money because her daughter's suffering from cancer, he tried to kill her, and she really killed him in self defense, then beheaded him in a fit of rage. And now she tried to plant the head on an unsuspecting co-traveller to throw suspicion another way, but her conscience got the better of her. But now that the head's dealt with, Sara feels like a new woman - even if the affair has traumatized Tess quite a bit. But Sara not only returns her pregnancy pills and walks out of her life, she even treats her to a pie ...


A pretty cool mystery/suspense piece that actually starts rather unconspicuous and seems to follow a certain psycho killer formula, only to attain more and more layers the longer the film goes, and to more and more blur the lines between good and evil while sending its two protagonists on two opposite character arcs. And the two leads (and actually only two actual characters) both give strong performances and are given enough space by a suitably subtle direction to breathe life into their roles - which all results in rather awesome genre entertainment.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD